- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2005

CBS’ top 9

It’s hardly news that CBS won yet another ratings victory last week. What is surprising is how the network dominated the top 10 chart, Associated Press reports.

Nine of Nielsen Media Research’s 10 most-watched programs were on CBS, with Fox’s “House” spoiling the clean sweep. The six most popular programs, topped by a “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” rerun, were all crime-oriented dramas.

The network’s crime stories weren’t the only winners.

The CBS Sunday movie “The Christmas Blessing” (13.8 million viewers) outperformed ABC’s remake of “Once Upon a Mattress” (8.4 million), which was produced by and starred the usually bankable Carol Burnett.

The two-hour finale of NBC’s “The Apprentice 4” last Thursday was seen by 12.8 million viewers, a disappointment given the show’s one-time status as a hit.

For the week, CBS averaged 12.2 million viewers (7.9 rating, 13 share) and also won handily among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers advertisers seek. ABC had 8.7 million viewers (5.7, 9), NBC 8.3 million (5.6, 9), Fox 6.7 million (4.7, 7), UPN 3.5 million (2.3, 4), the WB 3.4 million (2.2, 4) and Pax TV 480,000 (0.3, 1).

A ratings point represents 1,102,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 110.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Dec. 12-18, the top 5 shows, their networks and viewerships: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 17.7 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 17.1 million; “CSI: NY,” CBS, 16.5 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 15.3 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 15.2 million.

Transit strike fallout

The Big Apple’s entertainment industry is feeling the pinch from the first New York transit strike in 25 years.

The city’s media and entertainment workers, like millions of fellow commuters, faced limited choices getting in and around Manhattan and its other boroughs yesterday, Reuters news agency reports.

The strike came after the Transport Workers Union rejected a contract offer from the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority late on Monday, shortly before a midnight deadline when the union had said its 34,000 members would walk out if there were no deal.

The first New York productions to be affected are the network morning shows, all of which originate from Manhattan. They scrambled to make sure their production staffs and talent would be there on time as well as making arrangements for guests.

CBS’ “The Early Show,” for one, went on an emergency footing by asking staff to come in earlier than normal.

“We’re making arrangements for the anchors to get in a little earlier,” Leigh Farris, a spokeswoman for the show, tells Reuters.

Although several films and TV productions will be affected, others based in New York either just completed production or are taking a break until early January.

Two that are going ahead this week are the Weinstein Co. thriller “Awake,” starring Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba, and the NBC midseason legal drama “Conviction.” Both are shooting at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens.

The production of “Conviction” won’t be affected, as plans called for interior shots yesterday. Beyond that, however, plans still need to be worked out.

Two other NBC shows, “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” also shoot in New York. But on Friday, they went on hiatus for the holidays until Jan. 3.

The ‘Sundance’ kids

Paul Newman and Robert Redford are teaming up again for the season finale of the Sundance Channel’s new “Iconoclasts” series, Associated Press reports.

The hour-long portrait series pairs innovators from different creative fields for one to serve as an admiring guide into the world of another. Like chef Mario Batali on rocker Michael Stipe. Or actress Renee Zellweger on correspondent Christiane Amanpour.

So, don’t expect Mr. Redford to ask too many film questions about Mr. Newman’s film oeuvre. The famed actor/director would rather talk about his friend’s life outside film.

“Instead, the idea of me presenting a friend who was also a colleague to speak about what inspired him — his salad-dressing company, his racing interests, his camp for children — those were areas that I thought were worthy of attention,” Mr. Redford tells Reuters.

“I thought maybe some day he can turn around and present me, and let me talk about Sundance,” said Mr. Redford, adding an affectionate gibe, “which he probably won’t do.”

The “Iconoclasts” finale airs at 10 p.m. tomorrow on the Sundance Channel.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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